Five steps to prevent viruses and bacterial from entering your home
Chances are you’ve probably limited your outing these days. While some trips can’t be avoided, leaving your personal space during the pandemic comes with a risk.
It’s no secret that heading to the shops means you’re exposing yourself to other people’s germs and if you aren’t careful all these could end up back in your home, through groceries and other surfaces you touched along the way.
Fortunately, with a little strategy (and a lot of washing and disinfecting), you can reduce the likelihood of transferring viruses and bacteria into your home.
Here are five steps to follow every time you come home, according to a health professional.
Sanitise before you enter the house
Anytime you’re outside your home, be mindful of the germs on your hands. Avoid touching your face until you can wash them and, if possible. Keep hand sanitizer with you so you don’t leave potentially harmful germs on your car’s steering wheel or a doorknob going into your home.
Dr Sharwood says she tries to keep hand sanitizer on her at all times.
“If I am out in my car, I sanitise my hands as soon as I get back into the car following essential trips to the shops,” she says. “Or , if I am just walking back in the house , I sanitise my hands before I enter.”
Put groceries on the floor
Grocery shopping is more bizarre and confusing than ever before.
Since germs can live on surfaces like bags for several hours, don’t put your groceries on the bench unless you plan to disinfect thoroughly immediately after. Same goes for the just-delivered packages you might normally put on the kitchen table.
After she sanitise her hands and gets in the house, Dr Sharwood says she puts her bags on the floors until she deals with the next couple of germ-fighting steps.
“While you’re at it, you can hand your purse or bag on a hook with your keys – or put them wherever you normally do, as long as you’re not cross-contaminating high-contact areas like your bench or dining room table,” she says.
Take off dirty shoes and clothes
No matter where you ventured to, your shoes and clothes are also potential germ-carriers. Dr Sharwood always takes her shoes and jacket off when she gets home and quarantines them to their own, designated area.
“if you want to be extra careful, you can change into a fresh set of clothes, too. Just make sure you put your soiled clothes direct in the laundry basket right away,” she says.
Wash your hands, and then unpack everything
Now that your dirty clothes are off your body, it’s time to remove the germs from your hands so you don’t transfer them to all surfaces in your home.
“After you’ve washed your hands, you can do things you normally would like put away groceries or open up the mail,” says Dr Sharwood. “if you just went outside for a walk and you’re sure your hands are clean, then you’re free to relax.”
Disinfect if you need to, or just wash your hands again
For grocery buyers, it’s important to wash your hands thorough again after you touch all the food you put away. “If you accidentally set potential germ-ridden items on your counter, or potentially contaminated your doorknob or cabinet handles, disinfect those surfaces immediately with bleach or alcohol-based cleaner,” says Dr Sharwood.
“But I recommend laying off the hand sanitizer once you’re inside the house, since, since supply is dwindling and you’ll need it when you go out again.
“Plus, soap and water is more effective for your hands when you have access to it.”